Deciding to have more children is something that weighs very hard on the parents of children with special needs. Can you ever have enough time, will you be able to work with them, can they reach their full potential when you are spread thin? Is it fair to even consider it?
Overwhelmingly the answer for people who have continued on to have more children was that they were glad that they had more children. For many reasons. Here are a few:
- No matter what life brings, your special needs child will never be alone. Not only are we reassured of this as parents but the child knows that everything they do, they will have a sibling beside them to help and encourage them. My children are still young, but I have seen so many examples of protective caring siblings that I can’t wait to see how their relationships will develop.
- Having a special needs sibling is good for typical children. Many families talk about how their other children are far more patient, quiet and caring for others because of their experience with their special needs sibling. They are often quicker at developing that ability to think outside of their own needs.
- The extra stimulation is good for children with special needs. Our house is crazy, it’s noisy, there are toys everywhere, kids everywhere. Dylan is always trying to ‘catch’ the other kids, she wants to be where they are and will try as hard as she can to get there. That is motivation that a therapist cannot provide on their own!
- Logistics work themselves out – One mother asked how you get around with two “babies”? Maybe one is in a wheelchair, neither walk on their own. There are a myriad of options, even beyond double strollers. For me personally, I “wear” my little babies for a while, which allows for hands free carrying. Many people do this well past a year.
- Many parents find healing in a healthy child. “We can make healthy babies too!” They see a healthy child as a renewal of faith and with that they get the strength to continue to care for their special needs child.
- You have a new appreciation for “inch stones.” Having typical children has made me appreciate not only their miles stones but also the inch stones of my special needs child. I can better recognize the things that many take for granted. They early ability to bring toys to the center of play and the ability to transfer from hand to hand are just a couple examples. My time with my other children slowed down because of Dylan and I am grateful for that.
Now that we have talked about all of that good stuff… I want to make sure that you know that I understand your concerns. I am not going to say it will be easy, in fact… I will say the opposite – it will be hard. Often parents mention that the demands are so high it’s like having twins.
Just know that you can handle anything tossed at you, you have already proven that, your child would not like to hear that they held you back or caused you to have second thoughts about any of your plans.I am of the opinion that no matter how many kids you have, no matter how many directions you are pulled in, you will never ever feel like you are doing enough for your special needs child. (That’s that mommy guilt thing that we all have working against us.)
And for all that extra stimulation they get it’s more rewarding that traditional therapy, it’s real life therapy! For the whole family!
Do you agree? Did you have a child after your special needs child and have something to add? Let us know!
Image courtesy of photostock at FreeDigitalPhotos.net